I love trying new variations on macaroni and cheese. This green chili mac and cheese is a current favorite of mine. It features two different types of green chilies -- chopped roasted poblano peppers are nestled among the noodles, and puréed roasted serrano chilies are blended into a sour cream-cheddar sauce.
I think it's fun to roast poblano peppers, but you could save time by buying frozen roasted peppers. You'll need about 2 cups of chopped roasted poblanos.
Adapted from this recipe for a lower-fat mac and cheese at The Chef and the Photographer. I get at least nine servings -- any leftovers freeze nicely.
5 poblano peppers
canola oil for brushing
2 serrano chilies, washed, stems removed, sliced in quaters lengthwise, and seeded
1 3/4-inch thick slice onion
1 clove garlic
15 ounces part-skim ricotta cheese
1 cup low fat sour cream
1/2 cup skim milk
black pepper to taste
3/4 teaspoon salt
8 ounces cheddar cheese, grated
13 ounces whole wheat pasta, prepared per package instructions
1/4 cup panko bread crumbs
Roasting the poblano peppers (skip this step if using pre-roasted peppers): Place the poblano peppers on a broiler-safe baking tray. Broil (monitoring carefully) until the peppers' skin bubbles and begins to turn black. Remove the peppers from the broiler and use tongs or a spatula to place them in a large paper bag. Roll the bag shut and allow the peppers to sit for 15 minutes. Take the peppers out of the bag, and carefully remove the stems, peel off the skin, and remove the seeds. (It's OK if not all of the skin will peel off, just be sure to get the bubbly/loose parts.) Coarsely chop the peeled peppers and set aside.
Place the serrano chilies, onion slice, and garlic on a lightly oiled baking sheet. Roast at 400F for about 10 minutes, or until the chilies' skin starts to bubble and the onion begins to brown. Remove from oven and set aside to cool.
Preheat the oven to 375F. Lightly brush a 13x9 baking dish with canola oil.
In a food processor, process the roasted serrano chilies, onion, and garlic with the ricotta cheese, sour cream, and egg until smoothly blended. With the food processor running, slowly pour in the milk.
Transfer the sour cream mixture into a large mixing bowl and add the black pepper, salt, chopped poblano peppers, and grated cheddar.
Place the cooked, drained pasta into the lightly-oiled baking dish. Pour the sour cream mixture over it, and gently stir to combine. Top with panko bread crumbs.
Cover the baking dish with foil and bake for 30 minutes.
Remove the foil and broil for two to three minutes, until the panko topping is golden brown.
Let sit 5 minutes, then serve.